We have a daughter!

Virginia Alice Blackburn was born August 15th at 9:33 am after only 8 hours of labor! She weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 inches long. I had really thought we were having a boy because of all the guesses made by friends and family, but was thrilled to finally find out we have a daughter!

Wednesday the 14th was a regular day off for me. I was lazy all morning, met Joe for lunch at a new pizza place in town, and went to my weekly doctor appointment. At the doctor’s appointment I found out I was 3 centimeters dilated, and my doctor thought I could go into labor at any time. I still thought I had a few days to go though! I made a big dinner Wednesday night, packed my lunch for the next day, picked out my clothes, and went to bed at my usual 10 pm.

I woke up at 1:30 am with some serious period like cramps. I figured they would go away, but after half an hour decided to start timing them. They were lasting for a minute and were five minutes apart. The pain wasn’t too bad, so I just laid in bed timing them. By 4:30 they were still going on, and even though I wasn’t in too much pain I couldn’t sleep and figured it was time to wake up Joe. We took our time taking showers and getting our bags and headed to the hospital. I wasn’t sure if I was really in labor, because I wasn’t in too much pain, but my doctor had told me that if I started having contractions to take them seriously because I was already dilated.

We got to the hospital around 5:30 and got checked in. By about 6 I was hooked up to a machine monitoring the baby’s heart rate, and I got my IV started. I was really not happy about the IV, I was afraid to move my arm for a long time! They checked me and I was already 5 centimeters, which was good to hear. I still thought we had quite a bit of time before anything would start happening. Joe and I called our parents and let them know we were having a baby and everyone was very excited!

We got moved to our birthing room and the nurse asked me a billion questions. I was still feeling pretty good at this point, the contractions were steady but I was breathing through them. In between contractions I was texting my sisters and my best friend and laughing with Joe. My nurse and the doctors all thought it was funny that I wasn’t in too much pain with how far along I was. At 8:15 one of my doctors came in and broke my water. It didn’t hurt, but once it was done the contractions got way more intense and were coming back to back. By 8:45 I was really freaking out because the pain was getting to be too much. I’d made it that far without an epidural, and really wanted to go natural because I was afraid the epidural would slow down labor or make the baby’s heart rate slow. I felt nauseous, I was burning up, and I was literally hanging on to the bed rail in pain. I started telling Joe I thought I need the epidural because I couldn’t handle the pain anymore.

My hair was getting stuck to my neck and I couldn’t put it up myself because of the pain, and Joe was so sweet and tried to put it up for me. He only got about half my hair and it was so funny it almost made me forget about the pain for a second! I’m going to have to teach him how to do pony tails because we have a little girl now! The time I was in serious pain Joe was a huge help to me. He was rubbing my back, wiping my face off, telling me how great I was doing. When I started getting really worried that I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, the nurse came in and checked me. She let us know I was already nine centimeters! I knew I was in the transition phase, and the nurse told me I’d be pushing soon. I was still scared about the pain, but decided since we were so close to just deal with it.

It seemed like all of a sudden I felt like I had to push, and I told the nurse. A bunch of nurses and other people started coming in the room, and they were telling me to hold my legs and start trying to push when I felt like I needed to. I couldn’t really tell when I was having contractions anymore, because I was pretty much in a constant state of pain. I also didn’t know if I was doing anything when I was pushing, but the nurses started telling me to wait because they needed to get a doctor for me! Luckily one of my favorite doctors came in (of my 3 doctors, I really liked 2 but really really disliked the 3rd, and I was worried I’d get stuck delivering with the mean one). He was really proud that I hadn’t gotten an epidural, and told me to keep pushing when I felt like I needed to.

I felt like I wasn’t doing anything, but after what seemed like a long time they told me the baby was coming! Joe was holding on to my shoulder and telling me I was doing a great job, but staying away from my lady parts. Neither of us wanted him to see that! Ha. Next thing I know, the doctor is telling me to look down, and I could see her head! One more push and she was out! The doctors and nurses were all saying “look at that red hair!” and Dr. Ottenritter said, “it’s a girl!” I was so surprised! Dr. Ottenritter was telling me that I’d done an amazing job and he was so proud of me, and Joe looked so shocked! I think he was a little overwhelmed! It all happened so fast. I started to cry and told Joe, “we have a daughter!” Joe went with Virginia to cut the cord, and Dr. Ottenritter started to take care of me. The placenta came right out, but I had a small tear that needed to be stitched up. I’d wanted to do skin to skin contact with the baby right away, but because she was born so fast the baby doctors had her over on a warmer and were checking her breathing. She was crying, which I knew was a good sign, and she looked so perfect! But she was breathing really fast so they were worried about fluid in her lungs.

Joe was with Virginia while the doctors were checking her out, and then they were saying they needed to take her to the NICU to be watched for a while. I was so overwhelmed with everything going on! They let me hold her for a few minutes, and I was so surprised to see her red hair and blue eyes! She wasn’t squished or bruised and her head was perfectly round and full of hair, she looked like a baby doll! I didn’t want to let her go, but they needed to make sure she was breathing okay. Joe went with her to the NICU, and after I was stitched up, the doctor and all the nurses left me alone in the room to get some rest. I was wide awake and just sat waiting for Joe to come back to tell me how Virginia was doing! At first the nurses said they just needed to watch her for an hour or two to see if she would start breathing slower, which made me feel better. I called my mom and Joe called his mom at the same time, and they were actually together at the airport in Nashville literally about to board a plane to come to Baltimore. We told them we’d had a daughter and her name, and our moms started laughing and crying and yelling that they had a granddaughter. My mom said that everyone in the terminal was staring at them! Ha. We called our dads, sisters, grandparents, and started spreading the news.

Joe and I got moved to our recovery room, and the nurses got me cleaned up a bit. I was really shaky because I hadn’t eaten in a long time, but aside from that I wasn’t in much pain. I was so glad that I hadn’t had an epidural, I wasn’t groggy and I felt pretty good! Joe ordered us Domino’s, and we ate real fast so we could go to the NICU to see Virginia. The first time we saw her it about broke my heart. She was in a bassinet and had a tube down her throat, and she looked so small! She was breathing on her own, but they said that because of all the fluid in her lungs she was breathing too fast trying to expel the fluid. They didn’t want us to overstimulate her because that would just make her breathe harder, so I was the only one that could hold her. I was so afraid I would hurt her! The nurse was really great and helped me try to get Virginia to breastfeed. It was a little difficult to get her to latch with the tube down her throat, but with the help of a nipple shield we started to get the hang of it. She was really sleepy, so Joe would have to wiggle her arm to get her to eat. I had to use both hands to hold her and my boob, so Joe was a huge help in the beginning helping me get things when I was feeding her!

Gracie had flown in from Hartford and picked up our moms from the airport. They met us in the NICU, and my mom got to come in first while I was holding Virginia. She was so happy to meet her granddaughter! Joe’s mom and Gracie got to come in and everyone couldn’t stop talking about how pretty Virginia was! It was hard for everyone not to be able to hold her right away! We had to let Virginia get some rest so we went back to our room. Virginia stayed in the NICU until midnight, and then they put her in the regular nursery. We were so glad that she was breathing normal again! The nursery brought her to our room so I could feed her, and Joe finally got to hold her!

Friday we had Virginia in our room from 7 am until 8 pm. Our moms and Gracie come over at noon when visiting hours started and hung out. Gracie and Mimi flew out that afternoon. It was nice being at the hospital and having nurses help take care of me and Virginia, but by Saturday morning we were ready to go! A pediatrician from our doctor office came and checked out Virginia, and said that we shouldn’t have to worry about any long term issues with her breathing, which was great news. We both got discharged and were on our way home by 10 am!

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